Despite my concerns over this German outfit’s somewhat silly moniker I found myself quite intrigued by the striking cover art that depicts a solitary figure atop a mountain, flanked on each side by mighty waterfalls. Like any great album cover should, this one really manages to set an atmosphere before a note is even played.
Moving onto the actual music, it is clear from just the arbitrary listen that this duo definitely don’t subscribe to the ‘less is more’ notion, as “Procella Vadens” is jam-packed with vast amounts of piano interludes, the odd clear vocal, drawn-out instrumental passages, and even a track that is entirely non-metal in content. Upon first listen it all sounds vastly epic and multicoloured, but to my great dismay much of the album comes off as excess fat upon closer inspection. Look, their DRUDKH meets NAGELFAR meets KATATONIA shtick is certainly not without merit but I simply can’t shake the feeling that these guys are often guilty of overreaching on this album as many interludes simply don’t stick, and seeing as how many are so damn lengthy the transition to more “upbeat” and aggressive sections actually come off as mere afterthought. There’s a definite problem as far as pacing is concerned here. Tracks like “Lacrimae Mundi” and “A Million Moons” are evidence of this overwrought and dragged-out approach, with the lumbering spirit of the album only broken by more compact numbers like “Ego Universalis” and the intense second-half of “An Autumn Serenade”.
It’s not a huge train smash, though, but after sitting through the majesty of NOKTURNAL MORTUM’s latest effort (“The Voice Of Steel”), an album that is as far-reaching and progressive in scope in terms of Black/Pagan Metal as I’ve ever heard, this album simply comes off as an erratically paced affair that is only occasionally effective. They could easily have cut the running time by, say, 20 minutes, and put it out as an EP and the results would have been much more thrilling and, well, digestible.
As it stands now “Procella Vadens” is an album high on ‘exposition’ and low on pay-off, and honestlky a bit of a schlep to sit through. They definitely have the musical chops, and I do respect their sense of ambition, but they need to learn how to use it more efficiently.
(Online April 1, 2010)